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Jennifer Killinger
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WASHINGTON (March 29, 2021) – Virginia Governor Ralph Northam today signed SB 1164 into law; this legislation passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and will enable greater adoption of advanced recycling. The American Chemistry Council welcomed the legislation and issued the following statement, which may be attributed to Joshua Baca, ACC’s vice president of plastics:

“The American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Division is pleased to see bipartisan policy supporting advanced recycling become law in Virginia. Virginia is the tenth state to pass such legislation since 2017. It joins Florida, Wisconsin, Georgia, Iowa, Tennessee, Texas, Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania in encouraging the growth of advanced recycling by helping ensure these technologies have a predictable and transparent regulatory framework for operation.

“We thank Senator Hangar and Delegate Plum for sponsoring the legislation and the state legislature for taking bipartisan action on advanced recycling. SB 1164 was approved with overwhelming bipartisan support in both the Senate (34 – 4) and House of Delegates (90 – 8).

“With this step, Virginia is poised to take a leading role in helping tackle one of our planet’s most pressing environmental challenges: eliminating plastic waste in our environment. Signing SB 1164 into law moves the Commonwealth closer to enjoying the economic and environmental benefits of advanced recycling manufacturing. For example, converting just 25% of the recoverable plastics in Virginia into new products using advanced recycling could generate nearly $179 million in estimated economic output annually. Additionally, this law will help create new local demand for recycling programs and recycling centers that will process post-use plastics currently destined for landfills into valuable new materials.

“While we are pleased that SB 1164 was signed into law, we are disappointed to see last week’s Executive Order Seventy-Seven (2021), which bans the use of single-use plastics at state facilities, and last month’s passage of HB 1902, which bans polystyrene foam foodservice containers. Such actions do not help the environment but could negatively impact Virginia’s budget and hurt consumers. Banning plastics – a material that helps to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions – will neither protect our environment nor create a more circular economy. We strongly encourage Governor Northam to revisit these decisions.

“Advancing the circular economy—in which products are designed so that their lifecycle leads back to becoming raw material for new products—moves us closer to cleaner air and waterways, less pollution and waste, and a healthier planet.

“Manufacturers, retailers and recyclers, as well as communities, nonprofits and governments are supporting advanced recycling as an innovative solution for solving the plastic waste challenge.

“This new law, which supports wider adoption of advanced recycling, will help bring new jobs and tax revenue to the Commonwealth, which is especially important as the economy recovers from the pandemic. There have been more than $5.5 billion in investments announced to help modernize recycling across the United States in the last three years, with the potential to divert 9 billion tons of waste from landfills annually.” 

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